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Hematuria: Overview

What is hematuria?

Hematuria means blood in the urine. The bleeding can occur anywhere along the urinary tract, including in the kidneys, bladder, tubes (ureters) running from the kidneys to the bladder or the tube (urethra) that lets urine out of the bladder.

The kidneys manufacture the urine and the rest of the urinary tract (ureters, bladder and urethra) is called the collecting system. In most cases, you cannot see the blood with the naked eye, so very often your doctor will order an analysis of the urine (urinalysis) and that test indicates the possibility of blood in the urine.

If the blood is thought to be coming from the kidney, your doctor can get advice from a pediatric nephrologist, a kidney specialist for kids. If the blood is thought to be coming from the collecting system of the urinary tract, a pediatric urologist (kidney-related surgeon) should be consulted.

What causes hematuria?

The cause of hematuria might be physical trauma to the kidneys, tubes or bladder; a kidney stone being passed; or an infection of either the kidney or the bladder.

Diseases affecting the kidney and causing hematuria usually affect the kidney filters (glomeruli). These filters are actually blood vessels that clean the blood running through them.

The filters know what needs to stay in the blood and what needs to exit the blood through urine. Blood normally does not go into urine, except for a very, very tiny allowable amount of red blood cells. Unacceptable amounts of blood getting into the urine might mean the filters are "sick." A pediatric nephrologist can help find out if your child’s kidneys require medicine or not.